The Errand

Deborah Hendrick on Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Sonny Callen was half-way between Griven and Illa when he pulled off to the side of the road, and put his pickup in park. He’d forgotten why he was driving to Illa. “Confound It and Thunderation” he said, pounding the steering wheel, which was strong language for Sonny.

He got out of his pickup and walked around it several times, then let the tailgate down and sat on it, and stared off into the dry creek bed. Sonny always remembered, eventually, but it was starting to take longer each time. While he was sitting there, swinging his heels, Louie Maberry pulled in and parked behind him.

“You got trouble, Sonny?” Louie wanted to know.

“No. Thunderation. I forgot why I was going to Illa.”

“Shoot, I did that just last week,” Louie said. “I went to buy new wiper blades, got into the auto parts store and bought a case of oil instead. Got home and remembered that I needed the wipers. Felt like a fool, having to go back.”

While they sat there talking, DPS Trooper Charley Daly pulled in behind Louie. “That Charley’s a fine young man.” said Louie, watching the trooper unfold himself from the cruiser. I hear his mother’s a big-time judge down south, that’s why the state assigned him so far north. You know he works with the Boy Scout troop in Griven. And his little wife is a doll.

“You fellas having some trouble?” Trooper Daly asked.

“Nah,” said Louie, flinging his arm across the shoulders of his friend of more than sixty years. “Sonny here forgot why he was going to town so he just stopped until he remembers.”

“I’as on my way to Loretta’s Cafe,” volunteered Louie. “You know it’s Chicken Fried Steak Day on Wednesdays. Trooper, why were you going to Illa?”

“I got a call that there were two old coots out on the highway who looked lost,” said Charley.

“No you didn’t. We ain’t been here that long!” laughed Louie.

“Well I was going to Loretta’s too; it’s Wednesday you know. I keep a list of what the daily specials are.”

“A list!” shouted Sonny. I got it right here in my pocket. I wrote it down. Confound it! I was going to see Mrs.Teofila about her pointers. My neighbor wants to buy one for her son’s birthday in September, if she’s got any left for this bird season. You know she don’t got a telephone, and she don’t take kindly to strangers neither.”

“Don’t I know it,” said the Trooper. “I stopped by there last month to tell her she had a heifer out on the right-of-way, and she met me at the door with a shotgun in her arms.”

“Well, you didn’t know that you’re supposed to toot SOS on your horn when you stop at the gate, so she’ll know you’re coming.”

“That’s an awful lot of horn-honking isn’t it?”

“Her ranch, Trooper. Her rules.”

“Are her dogs really supposed to be the finest in the state?”

” I’ve had two in my lifetime,” said Sonny, “and it’ll make a grown man weep, Trooper, to watch her dogs work the cover.”

“Let’s go eat,” said Louie, “before the place gets too crowded, and Loretta don’t have time to visit with us.”

“Trooper, would it be bribery for me to buy your lunch today?” asked Sonny.

“Oh! it would cause me no end of grief, but I’d appreciate it if you let me go with you to see Mrs.Teofila. I sure would like to buy one her bird dogs.”

“Trooper, it’s a deal!”

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Topics: Short stories

4 Responses to “The Errand”

Eric Says:
August 1st, 2006 at 6:30 pm

Chicken fried, bird dogs, and…and…hmm. I forgot what I was going to say.

Deborah Says:
August 1st, 2006 at 7:36 pm

Well the menfolks do tend to lose track when thinking about bird dogs and food :)

Raybean Says:
April 22nd, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I don’t yet have age for an excuse for forgetfulness…I think I may be in trouble once I get up there tho’!

Nice story!


Raybean Says:
April 22nd, 2008 at 12:40 pm

I don’t have age to blame on my forgetfulness–I have a feeling that I’m in trouble when I finally do get old…

Nice story!



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